Those moments when you and your toddler engage and play are some of the best moments a parent can have. When these fun moments can also be learning moments, you receive even more satisfaction and joy from the moment. Your child is learning and having fun with you. It doesn’t get better than that. Here are three learning games to play with your toddler.
Conduct a Shape Hunt with Your Toddler
This is a great way to teach your children their shapes and to learn to apply their knowledge to the real world. If you have blocks, you can start with those. Have your child identify the shapes.
For example, “Which block is a circle?”
When your child points to the circle, pick it up and congratulate them. Then encourage them to find other circles in your home. Try to have a few well-placed circles sitting nearby so they’re successful right away.
For example, “You’re right, this is a circle. Do you see any other circles around here? What about this plate? Is this plate a circle?”
Whether the child says yes or no, show them how the two shapes are the same. Repeat the game with other shapes. Make it more challenging as you go. Look for shapes within shapes. For example, circle or square shapes on your oven. You can repeat the process with colors and even textures.
For example, find five things in this room that are red. Your child can combine counting with mastering their colors. Or, find something that is soft. If you want, make a booklet of your shapes (or colors hunt) as I describe in my chapter of Learn with Play.
Play the Alphabet Game with Your Toddler
While toddlers aren’t going to learn to read, learning to recognize their letters is the first step to that eventual skill. You can make learning their alphabet fun. A foam letter mat is an ideal prop for this game. Lay the mat on the floor and have your child jump to a letter you call out.
For example, “Where is the S?” They’ll jump to the S and you’ll have a dance party. If you’re playing music during this game it’s even more fun.
If you don’t have a foam alphabet mat, then you can take pieces of construction paper and draw large letters on it. You can also take a large sheet of art paper and create a paper alphabet map. Instead of jumping on the paper, they can toss a beanbag on the correct letter. We also like to do this hopping activity with numbers (and I add math lessons in it for my older child!)
Have a Nature Hunt with Your Toddler
A nature hunt with your toddler can be a search for plants, bugs, or whatever else you will see while you go on your walk. Nature hunts are always fun. And they’re particularly fun for your toddler if you’re hunting for things they enjoy.
Prepare ahead of time with pictures. You can print them on your computer, cut them out of magazines and put them on a sheet of paper so your child has a “checklist” of things to find as you go for a walk outside.
Learning games are a wonderful way to bond with your child and help them embrace the world. They set a foundation for a love of learning. Choose one of these learning games and get started! You might also be interested in these outdoor games for active toddlers.